Mac News Review

Made in America Macs Soon, iOS and OS X Will Not Merge, iMac RAM Upgrade, and More Mac News

This Week's Apple and Desktop Mac News

Compiled by Charles Moore and edited by Dan Knight - 2012.12.14

News & Opinion

Reviews

Software

Products & Services

Desktop Mac Deals

Mac notebook and other portable computing is covered in The 'Book Review. iPad, iPod, iPhone, and Apple TV news is covered in iOS News Review. Older Macs are covered in Vintage Mac News. All prices are in US dollars unless otherwise noted.

Purchases made through links to Amazon.com and Apple's iTunes/iBook/App/Mac App Store support Low End Mac.

News & Opinion

Apple Will Make Macs in America Again

Apple is gearing up to make a major hardware product in America for the first time in many years, according to Apple CEO Tim Cook in a video interview with NBC's Brian Williams (see Apple CEO Tim Cook Announces Plans to Manufacture Mac Computers in USA).

Businessweek Exclusive coverIn an interview with BusinessWeek's Josh Tyrangial (see Tim Cook's Freshman Year: The Apple CEO Speaks), Cook noted: "It's not known well that the engine for the iPhone and iPad is made in the US, and many of these are also exported - the engine, the processor. The glass is made in Kentucky. And next year we are going to bring some production to the US on the Mac. We've been working on this for a long time, and we were getting closer to it. It will happen in 2013. We're really proud of it. We could have quickly maybe done just assembly, but it's broader because we wanted to do something more substantial. So we'll literally invest over $100 million. This doesn't mean that Apple will do it ourselves, but we'll be working with people, and we'll be investing our money."

Bloomberg BusinessWeek, with this 13-page cover story, is on newsstands today, Friday, December 7.

Tim Cook on Apple's Plan to Manufacture Macs in US in 2013, on Whether iOS and OS X Will Merge, and More

The Register's Rik Myslewski has posted a summary and comment on recent interviews with Apple CEO Tim Cook that have appeared in both video and print covering a broad range of issues, including Apple's plans to move some manufacturing to the US and Cook's reasons for showing iOS chief Scott Forstall the door. Myslewski also reports that Cook threw cold water on those who believe that the Mac's OS X and the iDevices' iOS will eventually merge.

"We don't subscribe to the vision that the OS for iPhones and iPads should be the same as Mac . . . Customers want iOS and Mac OS X to work together seamlessly, not to be the same, but to work together seamlessly."

Microsoft chairman Bill Gates sees operating system unification as the ultimate fate of Windows and Windows Phone, telling Bloomberg BusinessWeek.

How to Upgrade RAM in 27" iMac

Fairer Platform notes that Apple's trendsetting industrial designs are always beautiful, but often quite difficult to upgrade and repair. A case in point is the just released 21.5" iMac, which is elegant on the outside but riven with glue and easily torn rubber gaskets on the inside. However, getting performing a 27" iMac RAM upgrade is easy peasy.

Republican Staffer Fired for Copyright Reform Suggestions

The Register's Iain Thomson reports that a Republican staffer who wrote a position paper (see Three Myths about Copyright Law and Where to Start to Fix It - PDF) suggesting that the current system of copyright legislation might benefit some market-based reform has been summarily fired for saying that the current copyright system "violates nearly every tenet of laissez faire capitalism," ensures government-enforced monopolies rather than competitive stimulation, that excessive fines for copyright infringement harm innovation, and that America's unusually long copyright period of 75 years plus the author's life breaks the statutes set out by America's Founding Fathers "for a limited copyright - not an indefinite monopoly," and that "current copyright law does not merely distort some markets rather it destroys entire markets."

Reviews

2012 Mac mini: 'HDMI Performance Is Crap'

The Register's Tony Smith says that as much as he likes the Mac mini's form-factor, looks and, more particularly, its operating system, he can't really recommend the latest version, at least not to anyone hoping to hook it up to an HD TV by HDMI, perhaps for media center duties.

The thing is, Smith explains, the new Mini's HDMI performance is crap. Fortunately, you have an alternative, he says, since the Mini also sports a Thunderbolt port, so it can be hooked up to Thunderbolt and DisplayPort monitors, and notes that in a very rare moment of generosity on Apple's part, there's an HDMI-to-DVI adapter bundled in the box - shouted because he was so surprised.

He notes that Apple has been generous with ports too, including four USB 3.0 ports and even FireWire 800 and an SDXC slot, and gigabit ethernet. He also notes approvingly that it's very easy for anyone to open the Mini: just rotate the plastic base 20° or so and off it slips, exposing the two notebook RAM slots, while removing four Torx screws flips off the WiFi antenna unit to reveal the hard drive, and it's relatively easy to slide out the motherboard and replace the drive.

Software

FlareFighter Combats Flash Slowdowns

PR: Do you want your computer to run faster and your battery to last longer? FlareFighter can help. FlareFighter gives you the easiest way to pause your Flash plugin when you're not using it. Save your battery by only allowing Flash to run when you need it.

FlareFighter

Did you know?

  • Flash videos could use your CPU even after you've finished watching them
  • An average site with Flash banners is still using CPU, even when left open in the background or in browser tabs.
  • The more CPU you use, the more your fans spin and the faster your battery runs down.

FlareFighter works its magic by allowing Flash plugin to run only when Safari is active. Switching to anywhere else will pause Flash, so it won't use any precious resources. Anytime you click back, Flash will turn back on.

Features

  • A timer can keep Flash running for 30 or 60 seconds after you leave the browser window, for those times when you only switch from Safari for a quick chat or to check your email.
  • Battery mode option
  • One-click disable

New in Version 1.1:

  • bugfix
  • UI polish

System requirements:

  • OS X 10.6 or later, 64-bit processor
  • Works with Safari on 64-bit Macs

Free

Maxthon Launches Cross-Platform Maxthon Cloud Browser Preview for Mac

PR: Maxthon has announced the release of Maxthon Cloud Browser (Preview), designed to provide users with a seamless and unified user experience across multiple devices and platforms. Maxthon Cloud Browser works on Windows, Mac OS, iOS, and Android and goes beyond simply syncing bookmarks to enable users to access and push web content such as images, videos, and text to and from any of their devices. Maxthon's new C4 Cloud Engine delivers these cloud services with lightning fast speed and maximum security. Maxthon Cloud Browser (Preview) is available to download now.

Maxthon Cloud Browser

"This rollout of Maxthon Cloud Browser marks a significant step for Maxthon in our development of a cloud-powered browser that integrates full-featured cloud services," says Jeff Chen, CEO of Maxthon. "It is our mission and the focus of our innovation in this post-PC era when people are using multiple devices to access information, to lead the browser industry in giving users the ability to move effortlessly between their devices without any interruption in their browsing experience. With each platform interlocked through our C4 Cloud engine, information will flow seamlessly from device to device."

Unique features in Maxthon Cloud Browser (Preview) that set it apart from other browsers include:

  • Cloud Push - With Maxthon Cloud and a Maxthon Passport account, users can push web content (text, images, videos) to and from any of their devices.
  • Cloud Download - Maxthon Cloud backs up users web downloads in the cloud, making it possible to access them locally and from any of their devices using any operating system.
  • Cloud Engine - Maxthon Cloud Browser's engine, C4, is a fast and powerful pushing, storage and syncing engine that has high-performance cloud backup and syncing capabilities. With data encryption and a distributed architecture for storage, C4 protects users privacy and secures their data.
  • Unified User Experience - The most common actions and processes are standardized across devices and platforms. Maxthon Cloud Browser allows users easily to learn something once and then do it the same way on other devices.

Continuing in the tradition of Maxthon browsers, Maxthon Cloud Browser (Preview) offers:

  • Speed -Maxthon browsers have always rendered web pages with speed.
  • Cross-Platform Sync - Maxthon Cloud Browser further simplifies the user experience by making the cross-platform syncing of browser tabs, bookmarks/favorites, history, and settings automatic and transparent to the user.
  • HTML5 Leadership - Maxthon offers the most comprehensive support for the evolving standard of HTML 5 of any desktop browser.

Feature Rich - Maxthon Cloud Browser comes fully loaded with features not found in other browsers, such as the ability to view two websites at once (split screen) and the ability to switch between two rendering engines, which allows users to access pages optimized for one of the other.

"We began integrating Cloud services into our browser in 2005 when we were the first to enable users to sync their bookmarks/favorites between desktop computers," says Jay Shen, vice president of engineering for Maxthon. "Today's launch of Maxthon Cloud Browser takes seamless web browsing to an all new level, introducing more cloud services across more devices, and we have plans to take it even further."

Maxthon Cloud Browser for Mac

Maxthon Cloud Browser for MacMaxthon Cloud Browser for Mac offers Mac users the same high-performance experience enjoyed by Maxthon Windows users around the globe. With a Maxthon Passport account, users of Maxthon for Mac can keep all user data in sync across different devices and operating systems.

Cloud Browser for iOS

Maxthon Cloud Browser for iOS saves and syncs key settings, content and features to your own private cloud across multiple platforms and other devices. Unique gestures make it easy to open and switch between tabs for an easier-to-use experience. Other cool features include Reader Mode - for easier-on-the-eye reading - and Undo, a one-click way to restore the last web page closed. All of this is presented to you in a simple and original design.

Maxthon Cloud Services

  • Cloud Push: supports sending text, images, websites/links and tabs to Mac, Android and Windows operating systems.
  • Cloud Download: supports downloading files in various formats and uploading them to 'My Cloud' for backup on any device.
  • Cloud Tabs: Lets you pick up where you left off by automatically syncing your tabs to Mac, Android or Windows devices.
  • Sync Bookmarks/Favorites: Sync Favorites across Windows, Mac and iOS devices.

Fresh User Interface

  • Easy to use interface offers innovative, touch-sensitive browsing.
  • Fullscreen browsing mode maximizes screen size.

Reader Mode

  • Makes it easy to view articles by adjusting font sizes and removing ads.
  • Built-in Night Mode protects your eyes in low light situations.

Super Gesture

  • Use gestures to create, close, switch and restore tabs.
  • Create your own gesture commands.

More Cool Features

  • Brightness Control: adjust screen brightness within the browser.
  • Portrait Orientation Lock: supports switching the screen orientation in Maxthon Browser.
  • Privacy Protection: Lets you browse the web without being tracked.

Mac Version

  • Super Drag and Drop - Highlight a URL or words on a webpage and then drag and drop into your Address Bar to open a new page or execute a web search.
  • Mouse Gesture - Make a simple shape with your mouse and trigger commands like Refresh, Close Tab, Page Top/Down and Previous/Next Tab.
  • Built-in Flash Support - No need to install Flash to watch Flash videos on Maxthon for Mac Great for all of the fun flash games you find as you browse.
  • Extension Center - Maxthon's extension center makes it easy for you to find great extensions to add even more firepower to your Maxthon browser.
  • Maxthon for Mac is compatible with Chrome extensions.

Security and Privacy

  • All user data is encrypted to ensure security.
  • Do Not Track is offered to protect privacy from ad networks and beacons.

Maxthon Cloud Browser is supposed to be offered for iPhone, iPad, Windows, Android Phone, and Android Pad, but while I had no problem downloading and checking out the Mac variant, I could only find an iPhone version when I checked the App Store with my iPad.

Maxthon is developed in China, and beginning with version 3 uniquely supports both the Trident and the WebKit rendering engines.

Products & Services

FirmTek Ships New 4-Port eSATA 6G Storage Adapter

FirmTek 4-Port eSATA 6G Storage AdapterPR: Serial ATA (SATA) storage specialist FirmTek, LLC has announced that the SeriTek/Q6G 4-Port eSATA host adapter is now available. The high performance SeriTek/Q6G is Mac OS X Bootable, whether installed inside the Apple Mac Pro or in a Thunderbolt PCIe expansion chassis, with or without SATA port-multiplication.

Performance

"Dynamic growth in the availability of SATA 6G SSD and HDD storage devices has increased the need for ultrahigh performance 6G eSATA controllers with sufficient bandwidth to maximize performance. The SeriTek/Q6G was developed to meet this need. With real world storage performance results in excess of 500 MB/s per channel, the SeriTek/Q6G offers a new level of performance for professional customers", says Chi Kim, Stanford Vice President of Business Development. "The SeriTek/Q6G is ideal for audio/video editing, photography, large media content libraries, storage expansion, backup and any application where external, hot swap, high performance, data storage is desirable."

Mac Pro or Thunderbolt

For connecting high-speed external SATA enclosures, the SeriTek/Q6G is claimed to work equally well as a powerful storage adapter in either the Mac Pro desktop computer or with a Thunderbolt PCIe expansion chassis. Due to performance rivaling that of traditional tower computers, many professionals are now turning to notebooks as their primary platform for working with audio, video and photography. The Thunderbolt expansion chassis helps unlock the full performance and storage potential of Apple's current compact systems such as the MacBook Pro, MacBook Air, Mac mini, and the iMac.

Configurations

The SeriTek/Q6G is built to support several types of eSATA enclosures. Direct connect enclosures like the miniSwap/ES, connect each drive to its own individual eSATA port. This configuration offers the ultimate in performance with the lowest number of drives. The SeriTek/Q6G also supports port multiplication enclosures like the SeriTek/5PM. The 5PM allows up to five SATA drives to be connected to a single port or up to 80 TB and twenty hard drives with four 5PM enclosures.

While the miniSwap/ES and the SeriTek/5PM can be used separately with the SeriTek/Q6G, one setup professional users deploy is the combination of ultra-fast SSD storage along with 5-bays of high capacity 3.5" SATA data storage provided by the SeriTek/5PM. This combination offers the best of both worlds. The four eSATA ports available on the SeriTek/Q6G allow both the miniSwap/ES and the SeriTek/5PM to be used concurrently. Use the SSD(s) in the miniSwap/ES for high-speed data manipulation and dump the final work to the 5PM for customer distribution and archival purposes. This combination offers the customer maximum transfer rates for data intensive operations while still supporting up to five removable 3.5" SATA drives for expanded storage capacity.

Key Features and Benefits

  • Bootable: Supports Mac OS X 10.8.x Mountain Lion, 10.7.x, 10.6.x
  • Supports Windows 7
  • Four high performance eSATA ports
  • Compatible with Thunderbolt PCIe Expansion Chassis

PCI-Express Base 2.0 specification compliant, supports 2.5 Gbps and 5.0 Gbps

  • Supports SATA 6.0 Gb/s, 3.0 Gb/s and 1.5 Gb/s hard drives
  • Fully compliant with Serial ATA Revision 3.0 specification
  • S.M.A.R.T application support for third party Macintosh utilities
  • Supports Disk Utility RAID and JBOD configurations
  • Supports up to 20 SATA hard disks using SeriTek/5PM and Mac OS X
  • Supports up to 4 direct-connect SATA hard disks using two miniSwap/ES enclosures
  • Complete CRC error checking for ensuring data integrity
  • Provides hot swap and PM support not available with the internal Mac Pro bays
  • Bandwidth can exceed 700 MB/sec. with a high-speed HHD/SSD configuration
  • vLow power consumption with aggressive power management
  • User-upgradeable firmware
  • Multiple SeriTek/Q6G controllers can be configured to support a single large RAID set

The FirmTek SeriTek/Q6G 4-port eSATA controller for Apple Mac Pro and Windows 7 PC is available now, with a retail price of $199.95. The SeriTek/Q6G (SATA-Q6G) can be purchased from FirmTek distributors, resellers or directly from FirmTek. The SeriTek/Q6G is also available bundled with the SeriTek/5PM (SATA-Q6G-5PM) or the miniSwap/ES (SATA-Q6G-ES).

Desktop Mac Deals

Low End Mac updates the following price trackers monthly:

For deals on current and discontinued 'Books, see our 13" MacBook and MacBook Pro, MacBook Air, 13" MacBook Pro, 15" MacBook Pro, 17" MacBook Pro, 12" PowerBook G4, 15" PowerBook G4, 17" PowerBook G4, titanium PowerBook G4, iBook G4, PowerBook G3, and iBook G3 deals.

We also track iPad, iPhone, iPod touch, iPod classic, iPod nano, and iPod shuffle deals. LEM


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